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UB Pharmacy School distributing pouches to get rid of old medicines, opioids

To help families discard old or unwanted medicine, 20,000 drug deactiviation pouches will be distributed to the Buffalo area in an effort to combat the abuse of prescription pain medications.

With 30 seconds and a little warm water, the pouches deactivate pills, patches or liquid medications, rendering them safe for landfills and easy to dispose.

UB’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals are partnering to distribute the pouches, known as Deterra Drug Deactivation Systems.

The school will work with state leaders, regional pharmacists, community organizations and law enforcement to distribute the drug disposal pouches to the community through its student-led safe drug disposal programs.

“We need to remove any unused, unwanted or expired medications from the household to prevent the accidental poisoning of young children, curious drug use by adolescents and pharmaceutical mishaps in the elderly. We also need to protect our waterways by not flushing drugs down the toilet,” says Karl D. Fiebelkorn, senior associate dean for student, professional and community affairs. “These systems offer a way to dispose of medication safely.”

The first 1,000 pouches were given away Aug. 6 at State Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer’s Family Health Fair, and another 1,000 pouches were distributed Aug. 13 at the Buffalo Zoo’s Wild About Wellness Health Fair.

The disposal systems will also be made available at dozens of local sites on Oct. 22 during the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.

The drug deactivation systems were purchased and donated to the pharmacy schoool by Mallinckrodt, a specialty pharmaceutical manufacturer, as part of the company’s initiative to donate one million drug deactivation pouches to help combat the abuse of prescription pain medications.

A national survey of United States adults who used opioids found that nearly six out of 10 had or expect to have leftover opioids, according to findings published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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